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Details of IAS-PCS-HCS-Civil Services Coaching:- ⚫ Best Coaching under the guidance of the most experienced Mentors- Headed by Mr. Sachin Goyal (Director) ⚫ Toppers always from Krishna ⚫ 4 to 5 hrs per day ⚫ Teaching through Ultr-modern Audio-Visual Aids- Slideshows, Diagrams and Flowcharts ⚫ Special Emphasis on Latest Issues and Current Affairs ⚫ 3 batches running parallel- Morning, Evening and Weekend ⚫ Special batches for Undergraduates students ⚫ Covering All 3 stages-Prelims, Mains and Interview ⚫ Booklets, Notes, Assignments, Worksheets and Handouts ⚫ Special Emphasis on Language Classes - English, Hindi and Punjabi ⚫ Daily Newspaper Analysis with special emphasis on Editorial and Free copy of Newspaper to read ⚫ Personality Development and English Speaking ⚫ Guest lectures by Specialists- Retired Civil Servants, Professors & Bureaucrats ⚫ Motivation and Counselling sessions ⚫ Daily updates of Schedule of lectures & Classes ⚫ WRITE RIGHT- Handwriting improvement classes ⚫ Previous papers Analysis ⚫ Regular updates on Exam Notifications and Advertisements ⚫ Online Tests ⚫ Revision lectures & Doubt Clearing sessions ⚫ Regular Tests and Mock Tests ⚫ WORD OF THE DAY- Exercise for Vocabulary enrichment ⚫ Stress, Anxiety and Time Management Sessions ⚫ Earn while you learn- Scholarship program ⚫ e-learning ⚫ Monthly Magazine ⚫ The course runs subject by subject in a circular motion where a student can start preparing from any of the subjects any time and will be able to complete whole of the syllabus with numerous revisions. ⚫ Success Guaranteed Visit: Krishna Study Academy SCO 161 Corner Showroom Sector 24D CHANDIGARH 9988003622 9417193622 WEBSITE : www.krishnaias.com For GK & Current Affairs visit and like us at: www.facebook.com/CLATHelpline
Details of IAS-PCS-HCS-Civil Services Coaching:- ⚫ Best Coaching under the guidance of the Most Experienced Mentors Headed by Mr. Sachin Goyal (Director) ⚫ Toppers always from Krishna ⚫ 5 to 6 hrs. per day ⚫ Teaching Made interesting through Ultra-modern Audio Visual Aids- Slideshows, Diagrams and Flowcharts ⚫ Special Emphasis on Latest Issues and Current Affairs ⚫ 3 batches running parallel- Morning, Evening and Weekend ⚫ Special batches for Undergraduates students ⚫ Covering All 3 stages-Prelims, Mains and Interview ⚫ Covering Full syllabus of- Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi ⚫ Very Meticulously Articulated Printed Study Material: Booklets, Notes, Assignments, Worksheets and Handouts ⚫ Special Emphasis on Language Classes - English, Hindi and Punjabi ⚫ Daily Newspaper Analysis with special emphasis on Editorial and Free copy of Newspaper to read ⚫ Interview training, Personality Development and English Speaking ⚫ Guest lectures by Specialists- Retired Civil Servants, Professors & Bureaucrats ⚫ Motivation and Counselling sessions ⚫ Daily updates of Schedule of lectures & Classes ⚫ WRITE RIGHT- Handwriting improvement classes ⚫ Previous Papers Analysis- With special emphasis on how to attempt most effectively in a limited time frame ⚫ Regular updates on Fresh Notifications and Advertisements ⚫ Revision lectures & Doubt Clearing sessions ⚫ Regular Tests, Online Tests and Mock Tests ⚫ WORD OF THE DAY- Exercise for Vocabulary enrichment ⚫ Stress Management Sessions, Anxiety Management Sessions and Time Management Sessions ⚫ Earn while you learn- Scholarship program ⚫ e-learning ⚫ Monthly Magazine- e copy for students absolutely free throughout life ⚫ The course runs subject by subject in a circular motion where a student can start preparing from any of the subjects any time and will be able to complete whole of the syllabus with numerous revisions. ⚫ Success Guaranteed with 100% responsibility of Success ⚫ Nominal Fee Krishna IAS, SCO 161, Corner Showroom, Sector 24D, CHANDIGARH- 9988003622 WEBSITE : www.krishnaias.com For GK & Current Affairs Visit, Share and Like us at: www.facebook.com/CLATHelpline
Daily Current Affairs, 10 January 2018 Paper 1: Topic: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times. Madhubani paintings Context: The folk painting of Madhubani will soon be seen decorating the walls of various government buildings in Bihar, the eastern Indian state where the art hails from. The idea behind painting the town in Madhubani is to give visitors a firsthand experience of how the paintings are blended with the region’s culture. About Madhubani paintings: Madhubani, which means ‘forest of honey’, is a style of folk painting old enough to find mention in some of the ancient Indian texts like the holy Ramayana. It is also known as Mithila, for its origin is said to be the Mithila region in Bihar.  Traditionally, the Madhubani paintings are created using fingers and twigs, and items like matchsticks have come to be used in their creation in recent times.  Their various styles include Bharni, Katchni, Tantrik, Godna, and Kohbar, which would historically be painted only by women from the upper strata in the caste system, who would make them on mud walls on special occasions.  The norms have now changed and the paintings can be enjoyed by anyone and in various forms. Madhubani is now found on apparel, paper, canvas, and other products, which boast of designs inspired by Hindu deities such as Krishna, Rama, Lakshmi, Shiva, Durga, Saraswati, all of whom have been painted in Madhubani since ancient times. Other subjects of Madhubani paintings include peacocks, fish and human connection with nature. Sources: toi. ________________________________________ Topic: Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues. Haryana becomes first state to launch High Risk Pregnancy portal Haryana has achieved the distinction of becoming the first state in the country to launch High Risk Pregnancy (HRP) Portal. The Union ministry of health and family welfare and Niti Ayog have acknowledged the portal as a good practice to be implemented. About the HRP portal: What is it? This innovative web application has been designed to track every high risk pregnant woman till 42 days after delivery, so that she receives adequate treatment during the ante-natal period for healthy outcome of pregnancy. This portal not only helps in early identification of high-risk pregnant cases up to the grass-roots level but also ensures their timely referral to the civil hospitals for further management and delivery by specialists. Background: The High Risk Pregnancy Policy has been implemented across the state since November, 2017, for identifying 100 per cent name-based high-risk pregnancy cases, and ensuring their delivery by specialists at civil hospitals. This initiative is aimed at increasing the pace of decline in Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR), Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) and Still Birth Incidence as morbidity and mortality is quite high in high risk pregnant cases. Facts for Prelims: Birth companion strategy: Haryana is also implementing birth companion strategy under which one female attendant would be allowed during delivery in the labour room. The presence of a female birth companion during delivery is a step towards improving the quality of care in labour rooms for improving the maternal and neo-natal outcome and for respectful maternity care. Sources: toi. ________________________________________ Paper 2: Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies. The Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals (CPCSEA) Context: A one-day National Conference on Welfare of Laboratory Animals was recently organised by CPCSEA, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, with the theme of “Implementation of 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement) while using animals in academic research and regulatory testing in India. The conference laid emphasis on the issue of ethical use of animals in academics and regulatory testing in India. The discussions were focussed on evaluating the possibilities of exemption of animal experiments in academics and regulatory testing. About CPCSEA: What is it? The Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals(CPCSEA) is a statutory Committee, which is established under Section 15(1) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960. All establishments engaged in research and education involving animals, are required to comply with the various guidelines, norms and stipulations set out by CPCSEA. Background: India is one of the pioneering countries to institute Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act in 1960 whereas such Act was instituted in France in 1963 and in USA in 1966. The detailed rules for experimentation on animals were first enacted by the Ministry of Agriculture in 1968 and were implemented by CPCSEA. The main functions of CPCSEA are:  Registration of establishments conducting animal experimentation or breeding of animals for this purpose.  Selection and appointment of nominees in the Institutional Animal Ethics Committees of registered establishments.  Approval of Animal House Facilities on the basis of reports of inspections conducted by CPCSEA.  Permission for conducting experiments involving use of animals.  Recommendation for import of animals for use in experiments.  Action against establishments in case of violation of any legal norm/stipulation. Sources: pib. ________________________________________ Topic: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure. No viable alternative to hanging, Centre tells court Context: Considering the “dynamic progress” made in modern science to adopt painless methods of causing death, the court had asked the government to explore viable methods other than hanging to execute condemned prisoners. Centre’s response: The centre has said that there is no viable method at present other than hanging to execute condemned prisoners. Need for review: The court has favoured a re-look at the practice of hanging to death as “the Constitution of India is an organic and compassionate document which recognises the sanctity of flexibility of law as situations change with the flux of time”. The court notes that a condemned convict should die in peace and not in pain. A human being is entitled to dignity even in death. Also, execution was not only “barbaric, inhuman and cruel”, but also against the resolutions adopted by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Background: The court is hearing a writ petition which has sought the court’s intervention to reduce the suffering of condemned prisoners at the time of death. The petitioner notes that a convict should not be compelled to suffer at the time of termination of his or her life. When a man is hanged to death, his dignity is destroyed, the petition says. The petitioner has also referred to Article 21 (Right to Life) of the Constitution and said it also included the right of a condemned prisoner to have a dignified mode of execution so that death becomes less painful. Constitutionality of death penalty: Constitutionality of death penalty has been well-settled by the apex court, including in Deena versus Union of India and earlier in the Bachan Singh case reported in 1980. Section 354 (5), which mandates death by hanging, of the Code of Criminal Procedure has already been upheld. Law commission’s observations: The Law Commission in its 187th Report had noted that there was a significant increase in the number of countries where hanging has been abolished and substituted by electrocution, shooting or lethal injection as the method of execution. It had categorically opined that hanging is undoubtedly accompanied by intense physical torture and pain. Alternatives: The present procedure can be replaced with intravenous lethal injection, shooting, electrocution or gas chamber in which death is just a matter of minutes. While in hanging, the entire execution process takes over 40 minutes to declare prisoner to be dead, the shooting process involves not more than few minutes. In case of intravenous lethal injection, it is all over in 5 minutes. Sources: the hindu. ________________________________________ Paper 3: Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment. Microbeads ban takes effect Context: A UK-wide ban on the manufacture of products containing microbeads has come into force on 9 January. Manufacturers can no longer add tiny pieces of plastic to wash-off cosmetic and personal care products (such as exfoliating scrubs, shower gels and toothpaste). Exemption: However, this isn’t a complete ban – ‘leave-on’ products (such as sunscreen and makeup) will still be allowed to contain microbeads following the cosmetic industry’s resistance. What are microbeads? In a nutshell, microbeads are tiny pieces of plastic found in many beauty products, such as exfoliating scrubs, toothpastes and more. Why are microbeads bad for the environment? Evidence has shown that microbeads can find their way from your bathroom to the sea. Trillions of tiny pieces of plastic are accumulating in the world’s oceans, lakes and estuaries, harming marine life and entering the food chain. Where else are they banned? The United States passed the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015, which required companies to stop using microbeads in beauty and health products by July 2017, and Canada’s ban on manufacturing the pellets took effect at the beginning of this year. New Zealand’s ban on microbeads is to take effect in June. Several countries in the European Union have campaigned for a similar ban. Sources: the hindu. ________________________________________ Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space. What happens to the human body in space? Context: Space is a dangerous and unforgiving place, and spending time away from gravity takes its toll on the human body, as many astronauts have found out after returning to Earth. Recently, Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai announced that he had stretched a staggering 9cm (3.5in) in just three weeks onboard the International Space Station (ISS). However, he later admitted he had miscalculated the figure and it was actually just 2cm (0.9in), but significant height changes are actually normal for astronauts spending time in space. Why do they stretch? The effect happens as the astronauts’ spines stretch out, because of the reduced gravity on board the floating lab. Because the vertebrae aren’t being pushed together as much as they are on Earth, they are able to float apart and lead to the strange stretching phenomenon. They shrink back down to their usual size once back on Earth and affected by its gravity. Health issues for astronauts to overcome:  The rapid change of gravity in space can cause a loss of bone density of up to 1% a month. This could lead to osteoporosis-related fractures and long-term health problems.  Lack of gravity can also cause body fluids to shift upwards, which may cause swelling, high-blood pressure and vision and organ problems. Nutrition and exercise become very important, and special measures like medications and body cuffs aim to reduce the risk of long-term medical problems associated with muscle and bone wastage.  Living in isolation and confinement can cause behavioural and psychological issues. Without a natural body clock, depression and sleep disorders can develop. The space station uses LED technology to imitate light on Earth to improve body rhythms.  A closed environment also means microbes in the body can transfer more easily. The environment can weaken the immune system, so urine, saliva and blood samples are carefully monitored to make sure dormant viruses have not been reactivated.  Radiation exposure is far higher in space than it is on Earth. Without the shielding of Earth, you could be more at risk of cancer and damage to the nervous system. Space radiation can also cause sickness and fatigue. The ISS sits just within the protective field on Earth to reduce risks, but missions further afield will need to overcome this. Sources: et. ________________________________________ Facts for Prelims: Ancient Rock Art in India Is Oldest Depiction of Supernova: Scientists in India have discovered rock art that appears to depict a supernova and the surrounding stars, buried inside the wall of an ancient dwelling place. Thought to date from 3, 600 BC, the carving would be the oldest-known depiction of such a cosmic event. Where was it found? The carving was found in the Burzahama region in Kashmir, India. Editorial: The problem of land hoarding ________________________________________ Context: As per the details from to the Government Land Information System (GLIS), the government owns at least 13, 505 square km. The government owns more land than it admits, large swathes of which are unused or underutilised. Government Land Information System (GLIS) In 2012, a committee headed by former finance secretary Vijay Kelkar had recommended monetising the government’s unutilised and under-utilised land to finance infrastructure projects in urban areas.  It is a first-of-its-kind centralised database created by the ministry of electronics and information and monitored by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).  The GLIS portal records total area, geo-positioning maps, and details such as ownership rights.  According to the portal, the railways is the biggest landowner among Union ministries. The defence ministry, which owns a large share of the government’s land holding, has given only partial details citing security concerns. Though the track record of the railways, as well as other government agencies, on land asset management is incomplete, the move to make an inventory is a step towards better utilisation of government land. The problem of unused land What is worse is that a large proportion of government land lies unused. According to reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), the 13 major port trusts have 14, 728 hectares of land lying idle. These numbers are staggering and incomplete. They exclude several departments of the Centre and, more importantly, don’t take into account excess land holding by the States. 1. Generates artificial scarcity of Land Due to excessive holdings, a precious but scarce economic resource remains unutilised. This generates an artificial scarcity of land for developmental purposes, and increases project costs and is one of the main drivers of skyrocketing urban real estate prices. Moreover, the allocation of unused land is rife with corruption. At the State level too, instances abound of public land being resold to private entities in dubious deals. 2. Inadequate ownership records The CAG reports that none of the government agencies maintains adequate ownership records. For instance, the 13 major ports have failed to produce title deeds for as much as 45% of their land holdings. This makes squatters difficult to evict, and so they gravitate to these areas. The need of the hour 1. Increase Floor Space Index Land is a crucial and often constraining input for production, not only in agriculture but also in secondary and tertiary sectors. The problem of land scarcity has been aggravated by grossly wasteful land use by government agencies. While stock of land is fixed, its supply as an input in production is not — it crucially depends on land use patterns. A useful measure of this is the floor space index (FSI), which is the total floor area built per square metre of land. The demand for land increases with both population density and economic growth. Therefore, to maintain efficiency, the FSI should also increase. By this token, the FSI should be the highest in major city centres, where the demand for space is highest, and it should taper off gradually towards the periphery. Apart from supplying space for economic activities, such an arrangement would also help maximise the gains from transport infrastructure. 2. Increase investment per square metre The investment per square metre gradient of Indian cities is very low and haphazard. Increasing investment per square metre could solve the problem of wastage, generate employment and pull masses out of poverty, thereby aiding the economy to grow fast. 3. Furnish details about usage of acquired land People have the right to know the size and use of land holding by government agencies which have been acquired by way of compensation. One of the solutions is that all the departments should identify their surplus land. Unfortunately, agencies seem to be loath to cooperate. 4. Comprehensive inventory of land resources A comprehensive inventory of land resources and usage patterns for all government branches is the need of the hour. It should include information on the location of each property, its dimensions, the legal title, current and planned use, and any applicable land use restrictions. This will enable effective identification of suboptimal land use, as well as of the land that is surplus. 5. Use of surplus land Surplus land should be utilised to meet the ever-growing demands for services, such as water and waste disposal, as well for government-sponsored housing and transportation projects. Monetising land for infrastructure is not only a noble goal but also necessary to optimise the use of resources for development. Land intended for future use can be rented out till such time it is needed, through a transparent auctioning process. This will not only buoy the public exchequer but prevent plots of land lying waste for years. Way Forward Given the importance of land for the country, we need to be creative in finding solutions. A public-government partnership seems to be the way out. We could take a cue from Britain. There, the government has pledged to provide details of ownership, location, and intended use for all properties. Citizens are invited to contest official land use and suggest alternatives under a ‘right to contest’. The Indian government should also agree to disclose its land use and release of excess land, the use of which it cannot justify.
Current Affairs, 18 November 2017 GS Paper 2:Topic: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein. EK BHARAT-SHRESHTHA BHARAT Context: Under ‘Ek Bharat-Shreshtha Bharat’ Yojana, Madhya Pradesh has been made partner of Manipur and Nagaland. The Higher Education Department of Madhya Pradesh has been made nodal department to implement the scheme.  As part of this, Madhya Pradesh will participate in Sangai Mahotsav being organized in Manipur from November 21 to 30. Similarly, teams of Manipur and Nagaland will take part in Lok Rang and Bal Rang programmes to present their cultural programmes and to apprise people with their culture.  Besides, translation work of Nagaland’s books has also been started in Madhya Pradesh to introduce people of the state with their activities and cultural heritage. Other activities are also being conducted in this regard. About Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat: What is it? “Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat” was announced by Hon’ble Prime Minister on 31st October, 2015 on the occasion of the 140th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Subsequently, the Finance Minister announced the initiative in his Budget Speech for 2016-17. What is it for? Through this innovative measure, the knowledge of the culture, traditions and practices of different States & UTs will lead to an enhanced understanding and bonding between the States, thereby strengthening the unity and integrity of India. Implementation: All States and UTs will be covered under the programme. There will be pairing of States/UTs at national level and these pairings will be in effect for one year, or till the next round of pairings. The State/UT level pairings would be utilized for state level activities. District level pairings would be independent of the State level pairings. Significance: The activity will be very useful to link various States and Districts in annual programmes that will connect people through exchanges in areas of culture, tourism, language, education trade etc. and citizens will be able to experience the cultural diversity of a much larger number of States/UTs while realising that India is one. Sources: the hindu. Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate. South Asia Regional Training and Technical Assistance Center (SARTTAC) Context: An Interim Meeting of the Steering Committee of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s South Asia Regional Training and Technical Assistance Center (SARTTAC) was held recently in national capital to assess the Center’s activities since its inauguration in February 2017 and to review the Fiscal Year 2018 Work Plan. Officials from all Six (6) Member countries attended the meeting, together with the Development Partner representatives (the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, and USAID), and IMF staff. About SARTTAC: What is it? SARTTAC, the newest addition to the IMF’s global network of fourteen regional centers, is a new kind of capacity development institution, fully integrating customized hands-on training with targeted technical advice in a range of macroeconomic and financial areas, and generating synergies between the two. It was inaugurated at Delhi in February 2017. Finance: SARTTAC is financed mainly by its six member countries — Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka — with additional support from Australia, the Republic of Korea, the European Union and the United Kingdom. Goal: SARTTAC’s strategic goal is to help its member countries strengthen their institutional and human capacity to design and implement macroeconomic and financial policies that promote growth and reduce poverty. What it does? SARTTAC will allow the IMF to meet more of the high demand for technical assistance and training from the region. Through its team of international resident experts, SARTTAC is expected to become the focal point for the delivery of IMF capacity development services to South Asia. Sources: pib. Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate. Shanghai Cooperation Organization Context: The Shanghai Cooperation Organization Meeting of the Ministers of Member States responsible for Foreign Economic and Foreign Trade was recently held in Russia. This is the first Ministerial Conference on Trade organized by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization after India became a full member of the Organization in June 2017. About SCO: What is it? The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, also known as the Shanghai Pact, is a Eurasian political, economic, and military organisation which was founded in 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Apart from Uzbekistan, the other five countries have been a part of the Shanghai 5 since 1996. The cooperation was renamed to Shanghai Cooperation Organisation after Uzbekistan joined the organisation in 2001. New members: India and Pakistan joined SCO as full members in June 2017 in Astana, Kazakhstan. The SCO counts four observer states, namely the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Republic of Belarus, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Mongolia. The SCO’s main goals are as follows: strengthening mutual trust and neighbourliness among the member states; promoting their effective cooperation in politics, trade, the economy, research, technology and culture, as well as in education, energy, transport, tourism, environmental protection, and other areas; making joint efforts to maintain and ensure peace, security and stability in the region; and moving towards the establishment of a democratic, fair and rational new international political and economic order. Sources: the hindu. Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate. International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Context: Under the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme, a five member audit team recently carried out the audit of India in areas of Personal Licensing, Airworthiness, Operations, Legislation and Organization from 6th to 16th November. The audit involved verification of response provided by DGCA against protocol questions made available by ICAO.  As per preliminary feedback, the audit team was satisfied with the safety system put in place by the safety regulator. As per procedure laid down by ICAO, the audit team presents its report to the headquarter team and draft report is made available to the state in about 90 days.  The state is required to provide its comment and draw its action plan on various aspects of the report and make it available to ICAO within 45 days. Thereafter the report will be finalised and made available to member states. About ICAO: What is it? The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is a UN specialized agency, established by States in 1944 to manage the administration and governance of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention). What it does?  ICAO works with the Convention’s 191 Member States and industry groups to reach consensus on international civil aviation Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) and policies in support of a safe, efficient, secure, economically sustainable and environmentally responsible civil aviation sector.  These SARPs and policies are used by ICAO Member States to ensure that their local civil aviation operations and regulations conform to global norms, which in turn permits more than 100, 000 daily flights in aviation’s global network to operate safely and reliably in every region of the world.  ICAO also coordinates assistance and capacity building for States in support of numerous aviation development objectives; produces global plans to coordinate multilateral strategic progress for safety and air navigation; monitors and reports on numerous air transport sector performance metrics; and audits States’ civil aviation oversight capabilities in the areas of safety and security. Sources: pib. GS Paper 3:Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment. Credit ratings and how are they given Context: US-based rating agency Moody’s has upgraded India’s sovereign credit rating by a notch to ‘Baa2’ from Baa3 and changed the outlook to stable from positive. Moody’s has also raised India’s long-term foreign-currency bond ceiling to Baa1 from Baa2, and the long-term foreign-currency bank deposit ceiling to Baa2 from Baa3. The rating upgrade comes after a gap of 13 years – Moody’s had last upgraded India’s rating to ‘Baa3’ in 2004. In 2015, the rating outlook was changed to ‘positive’ from ‘stable’. Reasons for upgrade: The decision to upgrade the ratings is underpinned by Moody’s expectation that continued progress on economic and institutional reforms will, over time, enhance India’s high growth potential and its large and stable financing base for government debt, and will likely contribute to a gradual decline in the general government debt burden over the medium term, the rating agency said in a statement. Also, while India’s high debt burden remains a constraint on the country’s credit profile, Moody’s believes that the reforms put in place have reduced the risk of a sharp increase in debt, even in potential downside scenarios. Reforms such as Goods and Services Tax (GST), demonetisation, measures to fight bad loans, Aadhaar and labor market reforms etc pushed Moody’s to upgrade India rating. What is a credit rating? A credit rating is an assessment of the creditworthiness of a borrower. Individuals, corporations and governments are assigned credit ratings — whoever wants to borrow money. Individuals are given ‘credit scores, ’ while corporations and governments receive ‘credit ratings.’ Why do countries get credit ratings? National governments, not countries, are assigned credit ratings by agencies like Standard & Poor, Moody’s and Fitch. Governments require ratings to borrow money. They are also given ratings on their worth as investment destinations. A country requests a credit rating agency to evaluate its economic and political environment and arrive at a rating. This is done to position itself as a destination for foreign direct investment. What factors decide these ratings? There are several reasons behind rating a government’s creditworthiness. One of these is political risk, like taxation, currency value and labour laws. Another is sovereign risk where a country’s central bank can change its foreign exchange regulations. These risks are taken into account and ratings assigned accordingly. Sources: the hindu. Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment. Bad bank to deal with stressed assets Context: Asian Bankers Association Chairman Daniel Wu recently said that India’s Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code is not the only way to deal with stressed borrowers and the government should look at other options, including the formation of a bad bank. How does a bad bank work? While the government has not charted out any guidelines on the structure of a bad bank, such an institution would be largely based on the principles of an asset restructuring company (ARC), which buys bad loans from the commercial banks at a discount and tries to recover the money from the defaulter by providing a systematic solution over a period of time. Since a bad bank specialises in loan recovery, it is expected to perform better than commercial banks, whose expertise lies in lending. Why a bad bank is likely to succeed in India?  A single government entity will be more competent to take decisions rather than 28 individual PSBs.  Capacity building for a complex workout can be better handled by the government which has regulatory control and has management skillsets in public sector enterprises.  Foreign investors with both risk capital and risk appetite would be more in a government- led initiative, knowing that regulatory risks would stand considerably mitigated in various stages of resolution, including take outs. Things to consider while creating a bad bank:  The first is that it should be based on a criterion as any such exercise creates a moral hazard which should be eschewed.  Second, there have to be strict performance criteria for the banks selling such assets. This can be through a multi-stage approach where these assets are bought piecemeal by the bad bank based on how future incremental assets perform.  Third, the criteria for buying assets should be transparent and a pecking order must be drawn up where probably the restructured assets get priority.  Last, a competitive approach should prevail among the banks so that they work hard to qualify for the sale of bad assets to the bad bank. This, in fact, will ensure better governance standards too. Sources: ET. Topic: pollution. Furnace oil and pet coke Context: The Supreme Court has requested all States and Union Territories to move forward towards a nationwide ban on the use of pet coke and furnace oil to power up industries, in a bid to fight pollution. Background: The Environment Bench of the Supreme Court had already ordered a ban on the industrial use of pet coke and furnace oil in the States of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan on October 24. This ban specifically came after an Environment Pollution Control Authority Report recommended the ban on sale, distribution and use of furnace oil and pet coke in the National Capital Region (NCR). Need for ban: Automobile fuel — petrol and diesel — has 50 parts per million (PPM) of the highly dangerous sulphur. Comparatively, furnace oil has 15, 000- 23, 000 ppm sulphur and petcoke 69, 000-74, 000 ppm sulphur. They emit sulphur oxide and nitrogen oxide, which form particulate matter, tiny particles that can penetrate deep into the lungs.  Although the DPCC had declared them as “unacceptable fuel” way back in 1996, but they are not banned outside Delhi borders and are being increasingly used by industries in the NCR, aggravating the pollution problem.  Furnace oil being the last grade produced by refineries is extremely polluting and pet coke is even more polluting. Sources: the hindu. Facts for Prelims:  Aadi Mahotsav: What is it? It is a fortnight long tribal festival on the theme of ‘A Celebration of the Spirit of Tribal Culture, Cuisine and Commerce’. It is being held at Delhi. Features: More than 750 tribal artisans and artisans from over 25 states are taking part in the festival. The Mahotsav will feature exhibition-cum-sale of tribal handicrafts, art, paintings, fabric, jewellery and much more. A special feature of the festival is tribal India cuisine, recreated and presented in delectable forms to suit urban tastes by special tribal chefs. Editorial: Timely recognition: on the Moody’s upgrade Context: US-based International rating agency Moody’s Investors Service has upgraded India’s sovereign credit rating by a notch to ‘Baa2’ with a stable outlook citing improved growth prospects driven by economic and institutional reforms. Moody’s has revised the sovereign rating of India after a long gap of 14 years. The decision to upgrade the ratings is underpinned by Moody’s expectation that continued progress on economic and institutional reforms will enhance India’s high growth potential. It will also improve large and stable financing base for government debt, and will likely contribute to a gradual decline in the general government debt burden over the medium term. The global ratings agency, however, cautioned that high debt burden remains a constraint on the country’s credit profile. What is a credit rating? A credit rating is an assessment of the creditworthiness of a borrower. Individuals, corporations and governments are assigned credit ratings — whoever wants to borrow money. Individuals are given ‘credit scores’, while corporations and governments receive ‘credit ratings’. What factors decide these ratings and what could move the Rating Up? There are several criteria behind rating a government’s creditworthiness. Among them are political risk, taxation, and currency value and labour laws.  Another is sovereign risk where a country’s central bank can change its foreign exchange regulations. These risks are taken into account and ratings assigned accordingly. The rating could move up if there were to be a material strengthening in fiscal metrics, combined with a strong and durable recovery of the investment cycle, probably supported by significant economic and institutional reforms  Sustained reduction in the general government debt burden, through increased government revenues combined with a reduction in expenditures, would put positive pressure on the rating. Rationale for upgrading the Rating to Baa2 The government is mid-way through a wide-ranging program of economic and institutional reforms. Moody’s believes that the Government’s reforms will improve business climate, enhance productivity, stimulate foreign and domestic investment, and ultimately foster strong and sustainable growth.  While a number of important reforms remain at the design phase, Moody’s believes that those implemented to date will advance the government’s objective of improving the business climate, enhancing productivity, stimulating foreign and domestic investment, and ultimately fostering strong and sustainable growth.  The reform program will thus complement the existing shock-absorbance capacity provided by India’s strong growth potential and improving global competitiveness.  Key elements of the reform program include  The recently-introduced Goods and Services Tax (GST) which will promote productivity by removing barriers to interstate trade;  improvements to the monetary policy framework by efforts to improve transparency and accountability, including through adoption of a new Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act;  measures to address the overhang of non-performing Assets (NPAs) in the banking system through an Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code;  demonetization;  The Aadhaar system of biometric accounts and targeted delivery of benefits through the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) system intended to reduce informality in the economy.  Other important measures which have yet to reach fruition include planned land and labour market reforms, which rely to a great extent on cooperation with and between the States. India’s Growth forecast by Moody’s Most of these measures by government will take time for their impact to be seen, and some, such as the GST and demonetization, have undermined growth over the near term.  Moody’s expects real GDP growth to moderate to 7% in the fiscal year ending in March 2018 (FY2017).  However, as disruption fades, assisted by recent government measures to support SMEs and exporters with GST compliance, real GDP growth will rise to 7.5% in FY2018, with similarly robust levels of growth from FY2019 onward.  Longer term, India’s growth potential is significantly higher than most other Baa-rated sovereigns. What is the significance of this Rating on Indian Economy? India’s sovereign credit rating is undoubtedly a welcome recognition of the country’s enormous economic potential. The ratings agency has said the reforms undertaken until now would advance the government’s objective of improving the business climate, enhancing productivity, stimulating foreign and domestic investment, and ultimately fostering strong and sustainable growth. The significance of the Rating:  Rating will enable Government to borrow money from various sources.  Rating shows India worth as investment destination.  This will enable India to position itself as a destination for foreign direct investment.  It is undoubtedly a welcome recognition of the country’s enormous economic potential. What are the constraints? The high public debt burden remains an important constraint on India’s credit profile relative to peers.  At 68% of its GDP in 2016, general government debt in India is significantly higher than the 44% median for other similarly ranked economies.  Rating agency sees the debt-to-GDP ratio widening by about 1 percentage point this fiscal year to 69%.  Farm loan waivers by States, the Centre’s implementation of the pay commission’s award and even weaker tax receipts amid teething issues with the GST will create more fiscal burden. Way Forward The large pool of private savings available to finance government debt, the steps taken to enlarge the formal economy by mainstreaming more and more businesses from the informal sector, and measures aimed at improving spending efficiency through better targeting of welfare measures, as all broadly supportive of a gradual strengthening of the fiscal metrics over time. For the economy to capitalise on this upgrade, the political leadership must stay the reform course.
Test series for Judicial exams for Prelims and Mains Under the Expert guidance of Dr Veer Singh, former Vice Chancellor, NALSAR, Hyderabad and Dr. Anjali Goyal former Faculty, Department of Laws, Panjab University, Chandigarh Answer Writing practice Special Lecture by Dr Veer Singh on how to attempt in mains Essay writing English, Hindi & Punjabi Special coverage of social issues and current affairs- Notes Study Material Mock tests Time bound tests Calligraphy skills Krishna SCO 161 Corner Showroom Sector 24D Chandigarh 9988003622
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